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Compare Astaxanthin

How to Compare Asxanthin ProductsThere are many astaxanthin products available on the market today. A high quality Astaxanthin supplement starts with the most highly concentrated natural supply of astaxanthin; Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae. This form has a much higher concentration as compared to other sources of astaxanthin. The graph below demonstrates this.

Natural versus Synthetic: Natural Astaxanthin produced from the algae Haematococcus Pluvialis has been shown to be a far more potent free radical scavenger and antioxidant then synthetic Astaxanthin. Further, synthetic Astaxanthin is produced using petrochemicals. While they are essentially the same chemical formula, the molecular properties are different and it is this difference that provides for the natural Astaxanthin's safe and effective antioxidant properties. This difference is the fact that natural astaxanthin is paired with fatty acids, which are attached to the ends of the Astaxanthin molecule. This creates an esterified molecule. Esters are more easily absorbed by the human body. Nearly all studies on astaxanthin that showed beneficial effects in humans were performed on the stereoisomer (isomeric molecules that have the same molecular formula) found in Haematococcus[1]-[2]-[3]-[4]-[5].

astaxanthin contentNatural astaxanthin is more stable than the microalgae because the extracted Astaxanthin complex is better protected within the oleoresin matrix than in the dry form of the microalgae meal[6]-[7]. The esterified form of Astaxanthin (as in the microalgae) additionally increases stability; an advantage over extracts of crustaceans, which are not as highly esterified. This in-turn leads to a more stable shelf-life[8]-[9].

Another important fact is when the microalgae Haematococcus Pluvialis is placed under stress to create its astaxanthin content, it also produces lutein, canthaxanthin and beta carotene in its own natural oil containing small amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (essential fatty acids)[10]. This complex provides a more desirable group of carotenoids than a single dietary ingredient. These other carotenoids that also have been shown to produce beneficial effects in studies.

Natural Sources: The source from which astaxanthin is extracted can play a critical role in a product remaining contaminate free. Shellfish, salmon and other organisms existing in the natural environment can introduce unwanted contaminants into the manufacturing process. A controlled environment greatly reduces and/or eliminates this issue. Insure that the astaxanthin product you are looking to purchase is derived from the best source, in this case numerous studies have shown that to be the Haematococcus Pluvialis algae and is growth in a controlled environment.

Supercritical extraction: One particular concern which continues to be a quality issue with astaxanthin, omega oils and any lipid based supplements is oxidation. Oxidation is actually what triggers the fishy flavor, rancid odor and a decrease in the nutritional value people find in these products. The double bonds of and lipid based product causes them to be considerably more vulnerable to oxidation and rancidity.

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Water also plays a important role in oxidation, which is a main component in many manufacturing processes of these products. Water contains iron and copper, which they can be a catalyst in the oxidation process.

A innovative manufacturing procedure which requires the use of highly pressurized CO2 (carbon dioxide) significantly decreases the oxidation concern frequently observed in lipid based products. This procedure is known as supercritical extraction. In this process CO2 is pressurized to a precise temperature and pressure. At this level it turns into a inert solvent which could draw out the active substances of different plant species without having the normal high temperatures or harsh chemicals solvents based in many other processess. Likewise oxygen, yet another primary catlyst in the oxidation process is not found in the supercritical extraction method. This drastically minimizes the oxidative process identified in the majority of lipid based products[11].

The outcome of employing supercritical extraction is certainly much more concentrated and stable product. Supercritical CO 2 is biologically compatible, and has been given a generally regarded as safe (GRAS) designation by the FDA. The specifications for this rating can be found in 21CFR184.1983 -- Sec. 184.1983.

Supercritical extraction offers three principal benefits over traditional solvent extraction procedures;

  • It produces exceptionally clean, completely solvent free extracts
  • It extracts far more of the plants functional elements
  • It considerably lowers or removes the oxidation rate of the elements in contrast to conventional techniques
  • It permits the production of extremely pure extracts with rigorous quality controls as well as optimum efficiencies and does not present any unwanted elements into the procedure such as chemical solvents and oxidation.
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Quality Control: There are many companies that claim to produce high quality Astaxanthin products, however their methods of determining the concentration of astaxanthin is not standardized. The most technically sound and accurate method for determining the astaxanthin content of a product is by HPLC analysis.

Determination of the astaxanthin content of Haematococcus algae by HPLC analysis has been accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (21 CFR 73.185) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Registration No. 990535); and it is used by Japan’s official analysis agency, the Japan Food Research Laboratory[10].

Astaxanthin conforms to all of the requirements to insure a high quality, safe and effective product;

  • Manufactured in a controlled environment.
  • It is free of Sugar, Salt, Starch, Yeast, Wheat, Gluten, Corn, Barley, Fish, Shellfish, Eggs, Soy, or Lactose. No Artificial Sweetners, Flavors, or Colors.
  1. Current Science, Vol. 90, No 12, 25 June 2006
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
  3. ttp://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Pioneering_Astaxanthin.shtml
  4. Miyawaki et al., (2005). Effects of astaxanthin on human blood rheology. J. Clin. Therap. Med., 21(4):421-429.
  5. W. Aoi, Y. Naito, K. Sakuma, M. Kuchide, H. Tokuda, T. Maoka, S. Toyokuni, S. Oka, M. Yasuhara and T. Yoshikawa, Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice, Antioxid Redox Signal 5 (2003), 139–144.
  6. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/oleoresin
  7. ASTAXANTHIN: Natural Astaxanthin, King of the Carotenoids Capelli, Bob (2006).
  8. Mercke Odeberg J.; Lignell A.; Pettersson A.; Hoglund P. (2003) Oral bioavailability of the antioxidant astaxanthin in humans is enhanced by incorporation of lipid based formulations. Eur J Pharm Sci 19(4): 299-304.
  9. Clark RM.; Yao L.; She L.; Furr HC. (2000) A comparison of lycopene and astaxanthin absorption from corn oil and olive oil emulsions. Lipids 35(7): 803-6.
  10. Gerald R. Cysewski, Analytical Methods for Measuring Astaxanthin, April 4, 2006, Accessed April 23, 2011 http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/article/analytical-methods-measuring-astaxanthin
  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercritical_fluid_extraction

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